Their Legacy Moves us Forward
The legal community lost two brilliant minds last week with the passing of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, and the passing of Supreme Court of the United States Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In very different ways, both of these great leaders influenced my career path. They each helped to define for me the way in which I wanted to use my advocacy skills to promote more access to justice and a justice system that promotes greater equality in outcome. While my story may be unique, these two zealous advocates had a memorable impact on the career of many of my fellow mediators too.
When applying to law school, I wrote of my desire to affect...
"I knew him well, first through soccer and then through my history of working four years for the SJC on trying to improve court administration 1974 to 1978, and also through his relationship with Massachusetts Justice of the Federal District Court Dennis Saylor, my son in law. Chief Justice Gants was a big supporter of mediation and its role in helping the courts in Massachusetts serve justice for all. He helped to put in place the two amazing Chief Justices that we interact with more often in the area of family law and mediation: Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula Carey and Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court John Casey. They too are both strong supporters of mediation and will surely carry on his great legacy. We are indebted to him as a community for the work that he has done...
Bearing Witness in Mediation
Published in mediate.com, August, 2020
Recently I’ve been pondering a certain aspect of my experience with mediating divorces. It’s about something that often comes up in my encounters with my mediation clients.
The feature of all mediations that I will talk about in this post is something I call “bearing witness.” When clients bear witness in mediation, and when you, as the mediator bear witness for the clients, it can be quite powerful in resolving a divorce. But it needs to be handled properly, or it can be dangerous and get out of control. If that...
eFiling Has Arrived for 1A Joint Petition Divorces in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Probate and Family Court announced this week that its eFiling system can now be used to file 1A divorces. eFiling is currently available in all counties in the Probate & Family Court. Pro se mediation clients as well as attorneys representing mediating clients can use the system. There is a $22 case fee plus processing fees for eChecks and credit cards used to pay the court filing fee. Indigent clients can seek to waive the fees. Documents need to be uploaded individually in PDF formats. eFiling may be appropriate for some clients and not others. For more information, see...
Transcript of Audio:
Hi, I'm Justin Kelsey. My firm is Skylark Law & Mediation. My pronouns are he and him, and I'm the newly elected president of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and these are my brief thoughts on my hope for this organization. This is my President's message
During my predecessor, Vicki Shemin's presidency, we updated our mission. Our mission is:
Advancing Mediation to transform the way families resolve conflict.
It's powerful! It's not just about mediating divorce even though that's a lot of what we all do. Looking to transform the way families resolve conflict requires us to look beyond just our private practices, beyond what we do in our offices and in our branding and in our mediation room.
Transforming the way families resolve conflict...
Mediators Needed in this Time which Tries Our Souls
Mediator as Moral Witness – A Case Study
A few months ago, I gave a talk on the subject of "Mediator as Moral Witness" to a group of mediators, and received a call the next day. One of the mediators who attended the talk had used the approach I recommended, and it worked!! Here’s a description of the mediation (with identifying
information disguised to protect privacy and the confidentiality of the process).
In the Worcester District Court, a mediator met with Sheldon and Rick, two former friends,one now suing the other. They had been friends for at least thirty years – they played poker together each week, and lived in the same neighborhood until two years ago, when Rick moved to Los Angeles. “I was sick of the New England winters,”...
Actresses Laura Dern (left) and Scarlett Johansson
from the film 'Marriage Story
"Marriage Story": A Valentine to Lawyers
Coming full circle, writer-director Noah Baumbach scores again in plumbing matters of the heart.
Baumbach’s 2010 film “Greenberg” gave us the foretelling relational pretext, subtext and context in the unforgettable line, “Hurt people hurt people.”
“The Squid and the Whale” in 2005 unfolded the story of his parents’ divorce through the children’s perspective.
Now, in “Marriage Story,” we are bearing witness to Baumbach’...
Remote Mediation: a Viable Alternative During the COVID-19 Crisis
If you have a court hearing scheduled in the next few weeks, most likely you've been told it's postponed. While some hearings will be scheduled telephonically and by video conference, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely causing significant delays in obtaining a hearing and an order or judgment. This is understandable as the court and the bar figure out how to adjust to this crisis. (For updates on the Massachusetts court's...
First Things First: The No-Nup Prenup
Remember the good ol’ days when two people met, fell in love, and got married? Nowadays, not so fast. Increasingly, couples are rehearsing the relationship before deciding whether to plan a rehearsal dinner. As marriage rates have fallen, the number of cohabiting relationships has continued to climb sharply.
As reported by the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans living with an unmarried partner reached about 18 million in 2016, up 900% over the last 50 years. To put a finer point on it, that equates to some 7.8 million couples living together without putting a ring on it - - 85% of whom will break-up by the end of 10 years. Equally compelling is the...